10.000 km in South India with a Bullet Enfield Diesel

#1 Jan 9th, 2010, 12:14
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  • omtapas is offline
#1
A 2750 km journey in 9 days driving and 1 day resting in South India on a Bullet Enfield Diesel. That is an average of about 300km a day.
This was my journey: start from Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh), Bangalore, Mysore, Ooty, Munnar, Cherai Beach, Varkala, Ponmudi, Kanyakumari, Rameswaram, Nagappattinam, Mamallapuram and back to Puttaparthi.

The road map of the journey
http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s.../size/big/cat/

The video of this 10 days journey - Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzrMyv_rKGU

and Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWvfF7rLFtc


How much did it cost?

Rooms were between 180 to 350 rupees a night. This is the price for a basic single room; you will need to pay about 100 rupees more for a double room. You can pay a lot more for a better room, but as I only sleep and leave before sunrise, I prefer to go for a budget room. Always compare 2-3 different rooms before moving in; noise, cleanness, smell, price, mosquito net, etc...
Also you must find a safe place for the bike in the night. I wasn't really worried anyone wanting to take my diesel bike, it is probably more that someone may empty the tank. That's why I always have an extra liter of diesel in the saddle bag.
I would take the saddle bag in the room and lock the bike for the night.

I am vegetarian and went often just on the side of the road where the locals eat; if they eat there, it is because it isn't bad. My food budget was maybe about 200 rupees a day (sometime even 80 rupees) including water and plenty of teas!

The bike been my own, I had no rental cost. I bought an extra saddle bag (from Cramster) and all my stuff except valuables and camera were in it. The bike is insured and I have a valid Indian driving license. I also bought a little tool box.

Diesel consumption was an average of 55km/liter (by 38rps a liter and 2750km) that is only 1900rps for the complete trip and about 200rps a day. The bike goes up to 75km/h but I felt a lot safer driving around 65km/h most of the time.

That is about 500 to 700 rupees a day. Not much really. Less than 10 euros.

What did I like?

I liked a lot that I never really knew, where I would go on the next day and where I would sleep or eat. Every morning I made a prayer and asked Bhagawan to guide me as if it would be His own holiday. And so it was, for me too.

I liked it a lot been on that antique diesel bike; it is the perfect no power and no pride bike, but great comfort, stable and fantastic mileage. Okay going uphill to Ooty was a bit on the edge; I remember two places where even the first gear was not enough, so while still on the bike I was paddling with my feet on the asphalt to reach the top. I laughed so much you would not believe.
I really though I would not reach Ooty, but the bike made it and also the rest of the trip without a single problem.

I felt very centered driving on my own and not in a group. I stop when ever I feel like, to take pictures for example, I drive at my own speed and so feel always perfectly well.
It may sound selfish but the group synergy is not my thing.

What did I not like?

Driving in cities, especially Cudalore and Pondicherry.

The food and sewage smell in Mamallapuram beach. I had a nice room with sea view, but there was a constant sewage smell during the night and that is not healthy. There are two open streams of waste water going into the sea. Plus locals using the beach as a toilet in the early morning. A bit too much for me.

My bum was not always happy! after sometime 8 hours sitting, it is normal I guess!

The braking distance on a Bullet is probably comparable to a loaded truck, so beware and keep a lot of distance.

Plenty of young Indian motorbike drivers are identified with the aggressive TV advertisements, like "be the hero" or "you are #1" and so they will probably try their best to impress you by passing close next to you at full speed. Equanimity is your freedom.
After they think that they have humiliated me, they usually drive around 40-50km/h, wait for me and give me a big smile of supremacy, and I always smile back with "Yes you are" what ever you feel like. God bless them and keep them alive please.

Most dangerous situation!

I was driving at around 65km/h and in the process of passing a truck, when suddenly the truck went on the right side of the road; with broken indicator lights I had no warning of his intention and I was very close of going in between the front and back wheels underneath the vehicle. About 30 seconds before that, I heard very clearly within me, the words “Take care” and somehow I felt ready with the right amount of braking, not to hit the truck or to slip and go under his wheels.

Most unpleasant situation!

I saw few accidents but the worse sight was the death of two village ladies in their thirties, probably been hit by a passing truck or bus. As the driver would probably be killed, there was no vehicle in sight even if it must have happen just a minute or so after I passed on the motorbike.

Some of the best rated pictures of this trip

don't be shy to leave comment and rating and to ask questions!

http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s...1/ppuser/59356
http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s...6/ppuser/59356
http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s...8/ppuser/59356
http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s...3/ppuser/59356
http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s...1/ppuser/59356

Pictures of the Diesel Bullet

http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s...6/ppuser/59356
http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s...6/ppuser/59356
http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s...1/ppuser/59356
http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s...4/ppuser/59356


Few recommendations if you like to do something similar:

Have a legal driving license and an insured bike.

With no helmets, you will be fined in some places; in Bangalore definitely.

Protect your eyes - this is a must! In coastal region there is a lot of sand in the air while passing vehicles and that really hurts a lot without glasses or protection.

Respect traffic rules. I am not too good at it, but I try my best (not to be seen! - just kidding)

Have your bike serviced before departure.

Start early, drive safely.

Try your best NEVER to drive at night on a motorbike.

I have been very lucky with the weather and I don’t expect that every time. It is wise to ad few days more on your list in case of bad weather.

Driving behind a fast truck or bus increases your mileage, but you can see the holes in the road only far too late.

If you are tired, stop now. If you loose concentration of your driving, stop now. You must always ride your bike with full awareness; if you are just thinking with who your girlfriend is now, then you are in trouble, twice!
Animals, pedestrians, actually everything can come from any direction at any time; awareness and presence must be #1 priority.

After few days on the bike, I went from thinking while driving to sensing; almost a constant meditative state. The new state was very peaceful and I had no more reactions in critical situations. As I practice meditation few hours every day, it was very similar, but with open eyes.

I would write every morning on my left arm the name of every town I would pass during the day; and still, every day I went a wrong road; language problem or no signboard! No problem! The wrong way was the right way too!

Speed breakers are nice little jumping ramps, until the fixation of my saddle bags where ripped out! So, with bags I go slow and without, hmmmmm….


I share my pictures in gratitude for what India gives me and I hope it inspires you, to visit the most beautiful and heart richest country I know: Mother INDIA!


My photo gallery with about 250 pictures from this trip are on IndiaMike:
http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s...0&ppuser=59356

Many blessings - Tapas
Attached Images
IMG_1142 bis small.jpg IMG_1161 bis small.jpg IMG_1791 bis small.jpg IMG_1465 bis small.jpg IMG_2000 bis bis small.jpg IMG_2068 bis small.jpg IMG_2410 bis small.jpg 
Last edited by omtapas; Jan 9th, 2010 at 19:15..
#2 Jan 9th, 2010, 12:37
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  • theyyamdancer is offline
#2
Excellent! Thank you. I am bookmarking this to read at leisure and for future reference.
#3 Jan 9th, 2010, 13:04
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#3
beautifully written omtapass . your above pics and video are Xcellent, where are other pics?? (you have made a presentation type of video)
#4 Jan 13th, 2010, 14:49
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#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by omtapas View Post and thanks for comments and ratings...
It's not just that your photos cover a lot of ground, but also that they are excellent, often magic

Keep up the good work
#5 Jan 13th, 2010, 15:10
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#5
Will be back at leisure too. Love the photographs already- rated one this morning.
#6 Jan 13th, 2010, 15:11
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#6
Wow!! I have always liked your pics but some from this trip are simply enthralling and magical, if Nick allows me to borrow this word.Great thread, will mark it for reference. Thanks
Sometimes, the joy that the Daybreak brings, is unparalleled!
#7 Jan 13th, 2010, 21:47
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#7
That's OK... It's a public word!

And very appropriate
#8 Jan 14th, 2010, 04:06
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#8
Nice report! and amazing pictures! some of the photos look unreal!!( in a good sense! )
#9 Jan 26th, 2010, 14:52
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#9
Omtapas, looking forward to Part 3...

(I have modified the title in accordance with your wishes).
#10 Jan 26th, 2010, 15:26
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#10

3050km more in South India - part two of the journey

Updated Report including the second part of the journey

A 5800 km journey in 19 days driving and 2 day resting in South India on a Bullet Enfield Diesel. That is an average of about 300km a day.

Part 1 of the journey: start from Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh), Bangalore, Mysore, Ooty, Munnar, Cherai Beach, Varkala (resting day), Ponmudi, Kanyakumari, Rameswaram, Nagappattinam, Mamallapuram and back to Puttaparthi.

Part 2 of the journey: start from Puttaparthi, Tiruvannamalai, Chennai, Pulicat, Ongole, Bhimawaram, Vishakhapatnam, Malakanagiri (Orissa), Khammam, Mahbunagar, Hampi (resting day) and back to Puttaparthi.

Part 3 is in planning!

The road map of the first part of the journey
http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s...2/ppuser/59356

The video of this journey - Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzrMyv_rKGU

Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWvfF7rLFtc

Part 3: work in progress!


How much did it cost?

Rooms were between 90 and 400 rupees a night. This is the price for a basic single room, non A/C; you will need to pay about 100 rupees more for a double room. You can pay a lot more for a better room, but as I only sleep and leave before sunrise, I prefer to go for a budget room. Always compare 2-3 different rooms if you can before moving in; noise, cleanness, smell, price, mosquito net, etc...

Also you must find a safe place for the bike for the night. I wasn't really worried anyone wanting to take my diesel bike, it is probably more that someone may empty the tank. That's why I always have an extra liter of diesel in the saddle bag.
I would take the saddle bag in the room and lock the bike for the night.

I am vegetarian and went often just on the side of the road where the locals eat; if they eat there, it is because it isn't bad. My food budget was maybe about 200 rupees a day (sometime even 50 rupees) including water and plenty of teas!

The bike been my own, I had no rental cost. I bought an extra saddle bag (from Cramster) and all my stuff except valuables and camera were in it. The bike is insured and I have a valid Indian driving license. I also bought a little tool box.

Diesel consumption was an average of 55km/liter; that is only 200rps a day. The bike goes up to 75km/h but I felt a lot safer driving around 60-65km/h most of the time.

That is about 500 to 700 rupees a day. Not much really. Less than 10 euros.


What did I like?

I liked a lot that I never really knew, where I would go on the next day and where I would sleep or eat. Every morning I made a prayer and asked Bhagawan to guide me as if it would be His own holiday. And so it was, for me too.

I liked it a lot been on that antique diesel bike. Okay going uphill to Ooty was a bit on the edge; I remember two places where even the first gear was not enough, so while still on the bike I was paddling with my feet on the asphalt to reach the top. I laughed so much you would not believe.

I felt very centered driving on my own and not in a group. I stop when ever I feel like, to take pictures for example, I drive at my own speed and so feel always perfectly well.

I loved the region North of Munnar, around the town of Maraiyur and also the Hills in North Andhra Pradesh in the district of Vizianagaram up to Malakanagiri in Orissa.

The friendliest people I have met were in South Orissa.



What did I not like?

Driving in cities, especially Cudalore and Pondicherry.

The food and sewage smell in Mamallapuram beach. I had a nice room with sea view, but there was a constant sewage smell during the night and that is not healthy. There are two open streams of waste water going into the sea. Plus locals using the beach as a toilet in the early morning. A bit too much for me.

My bum was not always happy! after sometimes 8 hours sitting, it is normal I guess! On the second part of the journey I used a little fleece blanket inside my trousers and it felt much better in the evening!

The braking distance on a Bullet is probably comparable to a loaded truck, so beware and keep a lot of distance.

Plenty of young Indian motorbike drivers are identified with the aggressive TV advertisements, like "be the hero" or "you are #1" and so they will probably try their best to impress you by passing close next to you at full speed. Equanimity is your freedom.
After they think that they have humiliated me, they usually drive around 40-50km/h, wait for me and give me a big smile of supremacy, and I always smile back with "Yes you are" what ever you feel like. God bless them and keep them alive please.


Most dangerous situation!

I was driving at around 65km/h and in the process of passing a truck, when suddenly the truck went on the right side of the road; with broken indicator lights I had no warning of his intention and I was very close of going in between the front and back wheels underneath the vehicle. About 30 seconds before that, I heard very clearly within me, the words “Take care” and somehow I felt ready with the right amount of braking, not to hit the truck or to slip and go under his wheels.


Most unpleasant situation!

I saw few accidents but the worse sight was the death of two village ladies in their thirties, probably been hit by a passing truck or bus. As the driver would probably be killed, there was no vehicle in sight even if it must have happen just a minute or so after I passed on the motorbike.


Astonishing experience!

I spend a lot of time on day 20 in Hospet at the motorbike workshop. The repairs were slow to start and even slower in their progress; it's India and I have learned to just be and let things happen at God's speed.
Around lunch time, I asked innerly "why am I in this waiting position"... and then I feel to go to have something to eat... I leave the workshop and after a minute or so walk, I see a little boy holding his bicycle on his left side and looking at the coming traffic towards the right side. On his left is a truck and suddenly the truck moves backwards; the boy has no awareness of what is happening, his focus is on the coming traffic.

I grabbed the boy at one arm and the bike with the other and pull him to my side on the sidewalk... all happened so fast that I realized later that it was not me doing it, all happen just too fast. I was like 2 or 3 times faster than normal speed but I can't really explain it!?

The truck driver didn't stop because it all happen behind his angle of vision and I guess that the boy would be squeezed under his bike and the double wheels of the truck if nothing had happen!?

A man gave the boy a big slap behind the head and an other person congratulated me with "You are a good man"

Later I cried in gratitude as I realized that my question had been answered, "Why am I in this waiting position?"...


How is the Enfield Diesel to use?

This bike was made for the farmers in the region of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh (I was told).

Acceleration is like a TVS 50, breaking like a loaded truck.

Very stable on the road, very comfortable and great mileage: at 75km/h 35km/l, at 60km/h 55km/l, at 45-50km/h 70km+/l.

No problem on the first part of the journey!

On day 11, the clutch cable broke and I drove about 30km before I fund a mechanic who fixed it. Funny experience to drive without clutch! 120rps.

On day 17, puncher! My first one! I deserved probably 10 of them. It arrived at the most unexpected moment while driving into a town and miracle it happened just next to a puncher repair service! 50rps.

On day 20, the back brake started to be very noisy, so I drove from Hampi to Hospet and fund a mechanic to repair it. The constant braking to avoid the holes in the road had ruined the back brake plate. 250rps.


Few recommendations if you like to do something similar:

Life is a precious gift! Start early, drive safely.

Have a legal driving license and an insured bike.

With no helmets, you will be fined in some places; in Bangalore definitely. Remember also that the helmet is to protect your head not just to please the police.

Protect your eyes - this is a must! In coastal region there is a lot of sand in the air while passing vehicles and that really hurts a lot without glasses or protection.

Respect traffic rules. I am not too good at it, but I try my best (not to be seen! - just kidding)

Have your bike serviced before departure.

Try your best NEVER to drive at night on a motorbike. If you have no other choice then it is a good idea to stay behind a bus (they know the road!), behind the left wheel side but not too close.

I have been very lucky with the weather and I don’t expect that every time. It is wise to ad few days more on your list in case of bad weather.

Driving behind a fast truck or bus increases your mileage, but you can see the holes in the road only far too late.

If you are tired, stop now. If you lose concentration, stop now. You must always ride your bike with full awareness; if you are just thinking with whom your girlfriend is now, then you are in trouble, twice!

Animals, pedestrians, actually everything can come from any direction at any time; awareness and presence must be #1 priority.

After few days on the bike, I went from thinking while driving to sensing; almost a constant meditative state. The new state was very peaceful and I had no more reactions in critical situations. As I practice meditation few hours every day, it was very similar, but with open eyes.

I would write every morning on my left arm the name of every town I would pass during the day; and still, every day I went a wrong road; language problem or no signboard! No problem! The wrong way was the right way too!

I washed my clothes every evening; the best way to dry them is under the fan in your room. In coastal area, it is often to damp in the night to dry outside. Same in some hills areas.

Speed breakers are nice little jumping ramps, until the fixation of my saddle bags where ripped out! So, with bags I go slow and without, hmmmmm….


Things that make me think and wonder?

The enormous amount of pollution in some cities and even rural area!

The transportation of animals; chicken, buffalo, etc… shocking!

4 or sometimes 5 persons traveling on a 125cc motorbike on the highway!



I share my pictures in gratitude for what India gives me and I hope it inspires you, to visit the most beautiful and heart richest country I know: Mother INDIA!


My photo gallery with about 500 pictures from this trip is on IndiaMike:
http://www.indiamike.com/photopost/s...me=&way=&date=

Many blessings - Tapas
Attached Images
Image1 bis small.jpg IMG_3815 bis small.jpg IMG_3868 bis small.jpg IMG_4289 bis small.jpg IMG_4433 bis small.jpg IMG_4703 bis small.jpg IMG_4919 bis small.jpg IMG_4958 bis small.jpg IMG_5017 bis small.jpg IMG_5126 bis small.jpg 
Last edited by omtapas; Jan 27th, 2010 at 09:08.. Reason: Updating and adding pictures
#11 Jan 28th, 2010, 19:18
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#11

Day by Day report of the trip

Day 1: from Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh) to Gudalur (Tamil Nadu, 20km before Ooty) via Bangalore and Mysore.
It is my first time through Bangalore with a motorbike and I am a bit nervous. It’s a Muslim festival day, some road are closed and I get a bit lost for half an hour.
The bike goes well and I like going fast over the speed breakers. It will be the longest distance in a day with about 400 km.
It is around 5:30 pm when I arrive in Gudalur and I decide to do the toughest part of the Nilgiri Hills climb on the next day. Also I prefer to stay in a smaller town, because there is less noise and pollution.
In the evening I realize that the fixation straps of the saddle bag are broken; from now on I will behave and go slow up the speed breakers.

Day 2: from Gudalur (Tamil Nadu) to Kalianappandal via Coimbatore.
I have the straps of the saddlebag repaired and leave after some idlis and a chai.
As I don’t know how the diesel Bullet will be in the Hills I decide to go slow uphill; after few kilometers I realize that I can’t go faster anyway! Sometime I use the second gear but most of the time the first gear.
In two places even the first gear was not enough, so while still on the bike I paddle with my feet on the asphalt to reach the top. I laughed so much you would not believe.
When I reach Pykhara Lake I thought that was it, the bike seemed exhausted and powerless and I already imagine a longer vacation in Ooty and a return by bus. I have a break to let the engine and my legs cool down and miracle the bike seems to go well after that.
After Ooty, there are lots of diversions to reach Coonoor and Coimbatore because of the recent rainfalls and landslides.
At Coimbatore I go the wrong direction; realizing that the sun was in my back instead of my right shoulder for a bit too long, I ask few villagers and indeed I am on the way to Erode to the East. I take some small roads and reach Kalianappandal South of Coimbatore only by night.
I am very tired. I have an ice cream and go straight to bed.

Day 3: from Kalianappandal (Tamil Nadu) to Cherai Beach (Kerala, North of Ernakulum) via Munnar.
I leave before sunrise, as I do most days.
The ride up to Maraiyur is fantastic. I stop every few kilometers to listen to the birds and breathe the magnificent views. The bike works fine and I am very happy to have taken the decision to do this trip. Often on this journey, I have tears of gratitude experiencing so much beauty.
From Munnar down into the Kerala region is very green but I don’t enjoy it so much; lots of construction and traffic. I have no idea where to spend the night, but decide to go North of Kochi with an option to go North towards Gokarna or maybe South towards Kanyakumari on the next day.
As usual I ask Bhagawan to guide me and so I arrive in Cherai Beach. I have never heard of Cherai before; sweet little beach and a great place to do pictures.
I have a little room (150 rps only) in a very friendly family house next to the beach.
My bum hurts, I am not used to driving a bike for long. I wash my clothes and go to bed after dinner.

Day 4 and 5: from Cherai Beach to Varkala via Kochi, Sabarimala, Pathanamthuta and Alleppey.
My bum has recovered and I decide to go towards the South of India.
I don’t stay long on the main road and go through little villages along the coast and inland.
I arrive in Varkala in the afternoon and find a very nice penthouse room at low season rate (350 rps only).
I was in Varkala 10 years ago, what a change, but in a the good way. I like it and decide to stay here for an extra day. It is just before the tourist rush of Christmas and the local people are not so stressed.

Day 6: from Varkala to Kanyakumari via Ponmudi.
While leaving Varkala, I see a signboard "Visit Ponmudi Hills". Never heard of Ponmudi before, but I decide to go...
Ponmudi is sweet; very few persons seem to go there, probably too much of a transportation hassle for such a little place. The ride in the hills was fun.
And then finally I reach Kanyakumari just before sunset.
I was here years ago and it looks like ten times more shops and hotels. For me a sad city, filled with "one day" visitors but still, a grandiose view at the Vivekananda Rock!

Day 7: from Kanyakumari to Rameswaram via Tuticorin and a little visit at Dhanushkodi, the closest point to Sri Lanka.
Beautiful weather, no traffic, a new road and a very relaxing drive.
I would love to spend the night in Dhanushkodi but there are no rooms there, so I drive back to Rameswaram.

Day 8: from Rameswaram to Nagappattinam
Again a very beautiful road and no traffic, cool! Only one problem, goats everywhere; no speed breaker needed, they do the job very well.
I stop for a chai on the side of the road and I am quickly surrounded by lots of sweet kids. They take me to their village. There, I am offered 2 coconuts to drink and to eat by a fisherman and I bit later I am presented with two women and the villagers asked me if I had like to marry one! They tell me that I was only the second foreigner to come to their village in the last 10 years!
Today I also saw this enormous cobra crossing the road while I was driving at around 60 km/h; I only missed it by a bit because my head was more in the landscape than the road at that moment.
I saw 2 dead women in their 30s on the side of the road; I guess they have been hit by a passing truck or bus. It must have been a minute before I passed with the bike. Sad
I spend the night at the Golden Sand Hotel; nice old style single room (95 rps only). If you like to see the golden sand, the beach is at 1 km!

Day 9: from Nagappattinam to Mamallapuram via Pondicherry along the coast of Tamil Nadu.
Coming into Cudalore, I cannot recognize a big long hole in the road and with about 55-60 km/h, it hurts. No time to brake, I make a big jump and both fixation straps of the saddlebag break and I almost fall of the bike.
There is a lot of traffic and driving feels very dangerous around Pondicherry. No cool, I am bit stressed.
I think to stay in Auroville for the night but the inner voice tells me to drive up to Mamallapuram. That part of the road is very nice...
Mamallapuram! My most unpleasant stay during those 10 first days: dirty and dusty, my worst food of the trip (dinner and breakfast), dozens of locals using the beach as a toilet in the morning and waste water going into the sea via the beach?!
One fisherman asked me money because I made a picture of him and he was quite serious in his words?! I know he was not offended, he just tried his luck for a bonus.
There are few exclusive beach resort around Mamallapuram and I could imagine that it may have triggered some local people, to know that some guests can afford 5000+ rupees for a night.
This is only my personal experience and thoughts anyway!
Certainly fantastic stone carving and a great place to do sunrise photography, but I guess I would try a place further north next time I am in this region.

Day 10: from Mamallapuram to Puttaparthi via Vellore, Chittoor and Madanapalle.
I like Andhra Pradesh a lot and I am happy to go back to Puttaparthi.
I have few weeks rest and I leave again for the second part of my bike journey through South India.

Day 11: from Puttaparthi to Tiruvannamalai (Tamil Nadu) via Horseley Hills.
I know this road well but I have never been in Horseley Hills. Cool little place.
The bike was serviced before departure but the gear change seems a bit harder today? after few more kilometers comes the answer: the clutch cable brakes. I am not too worried because actually the problem is only really when I have to stop. I pass through few villages until I see a mechanic workshop at the entrance of Madanapalle and then I just stall the engine and ask for help. New cable and repair cost, 120 rps.
It rains a bit just before Tiruvannamalai. I have some nice sunset pictures just before, cool!
Tiruvannamalai is fully packed with foreigners and I have to spend the night at some friends house. Usually I stay at the Sheshadri Ashram or at Tasty Café (great food too!)

Day 12: from Tiruvannamalai to Pulicat via Gingee and Chennai.
Good morning Arunachala
Today I feel to drive at around 50 km/h only, my goal is to go to Chennai and to meet with Nick-H (IndiaMiker). I try to call him in the morning and few times during the day but nothing works. So I pass through a deserted Chennai (it was Pongal!) and then feel to continue further. I look at the map and go towards “Pulicat”. It is already late and I drive around 75 km/h to try to reach Pulicat before the night.
In Pulicat I ask for a room and I am told “no room in Pulicat, you must drive back 20 km”.
I feel that I will stay here for the night, so I sit down for a chai and hope for a little miracle!
After few minutes a man comes and says to me “you can stay at my house!” wow cool!
I go with him but he then tells me then that it is not possible (I guess his wife said so, it was a Muslim family).
I wait again and he comes back to tell me that he has a house for me for the night. Unbelievable.
I had a nice fisherman house just for me, but I had to promise him that I would leave next day. Okay.
That was cool Bhagawan! Thank you.

Dasy 13: from Pulicat (Tamil Nadu) to Ongole (Andhra Pradesh) via Nellore
I try to go to the coast and I arrive at a place called Krishnanagar (not too sure anymore?). That is the most astonishing place I have seen in India. Lots of trucks, a new railway track and a big road leading to an enormous industrial complex. Security control everywhere; I wondered later how I could have come so close anyway. When they finally stopped me, they escorted me back for few kilometers.
That was somewhere south of Nellore. I expected some idyllic spot like Pulicat…
Later I have an over try towards the coast and that was really very nice; great pictures and cool adventure with a shortcut through some sandy landscape for about 10 km guided by a little boy on my back seat.

Day 14: from Ongole to Bhimawaram in the West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh.
The Highway passes through Vijayawada. To avoid the highway road and to have more chances of nice views I go along the coast and pass the Krishna river at Repalle. The bridge is not on the map, so I was very surprise and happy with that choice of route.

Day 15: from Bhimavaram to Vishakhapatnam.
Not too much to report. I did a lot of highway driving and it is good because I decided on that evening for something a bit more challenging for the next days.
Today was the first time that suddenly I felt really tired during the day; I took the first road left out of the highway and went for a nap on my yoga mat under a tree far from road and villages. Almost an hour later, I woke up with a group of kids around me looking at me in silence. India is so sweet!
One thing to know: I could not find a place to stay at Vishakhapatnam beach; no hotel allowed foreigners, so I had to find a room in the city.
Something else quite cool; Highways are (still) free for 2 wheelers.

Day 16: from Vishakhapatnam to Malakanagiri (Orissa)
I have absolutely no idea what to expect but after few kilometers backwards on the highway I go inland towards Anakapalle, then Paderu, Jalaput Reservoir, Jeypore and finally Malakanagiri in Orissa.
That was a great idea: lots of tribal villages, hills up to 1000m alt, a beautiful landscape and plenty of surprises.
Some parts of the road are in a catastrophic condition and I expected a puncher any moment, but Grace was with me and I must say, this was the best part of the journey yet!
It is a very difficult journey if you try by bus or even a car. I drove quite fast because I guessed I will only find a bed in Malakanagiri (I arrived at 6 pm); and indeed there is only one hotel there and they told me that they see maybe one foreigner every 6 months.
All the people are very friendly and no one tried to cheat me; unbelievable actually. The hotel room was 90 rps only! They could have asked much more but they just don’t think this way. The hotel stuff woke me up at 10 pm and asked for the lock of the Bullet because they said they would put the bike in the reception hall for the night! What a service!
I hope to go back in this region one day…

Day 17: from Malakanagiri to Khammam in Andhra Pradesh.
A very tough day!
The road is a bit better than the day before but I think I decided to do too many kilometers in a day in those though road condition.
I have a big surprise around lunch time; the crossing of the Sabari river. I arrive at the river side and there is no bridge! I ask someone and he points towards the other side of the river; I see a tiny boat with no engine!
The Bullet with luggages is over 200 kg and I guess trouble!
But no, they put the Bullet on the boat over a wooden ramp and voila I was in Konta and back in Andhra Pradesh for 15 rps.
A bit later I cross the Bogawari river and reach Borganipad and I have my first puncher; not possible to be luckier, it happened next to a puncher repair service. I had to wait for the man to finish his lunch and then he did the job. 50 rps and vroom, full throttle, I am very late and I like to reach Khammam before night.
I am so exhausted when I reach Khammam and go straight to bed.

Day 18: Khammam to Mahbubnagar.
The craziest day of all!
I have a tendency to forget to fill up the tank, so I have tried to make it a habit to visit the petrol station first thing in the morning.
At 7:00 am the tank is full and I decide to go south towards Guntur.
At 7:15 am, there is a roadblock on a bridge in front of me and they all chant “Jay Telangana”. Police is everywhere and the tension is high. I see trucks with broken windscreens and some are holding stones in their hands.
I try my luck and drive my way to the edge of the barricade. I tell them “please, I am a foreigner and I had like to go to Puttaparthi – Sai Baba” big shooting all around me, angry looks but then, surprisingly one man said ”If you chant Jay Telangana, we let you through!” So I chanted “Jay Telangana, Jay…” They ask for my camera to make a picture. I was a bit worried but I felt I better do not play to smart here and gave them my camera. They took a picture of me and the crowd chanting “Jay Telangana”. And then they let me through. wow, that was really at the limit; fanatics can be really dangerous in India... and it could have turn really bad.
My joy is short lived as there is another roadblock maybe 10 km later. They are a lot more aggressive and I decide to wait almost half an hour before I try my way through. After I show them the pictures from the previous roadblock, they let me through again!
The petrol stations are all closed by now and you can only find diesel in one liter bottles in some little shops on the side of road for 70 to 100 rupees a liter; normally 35-38 rupees.
I pass 3 more roadblocks like that, but then I decide to change the trip direction and to go towards Karnataka and then the word “Hampi” came very clearly as a destination.
I take some small roads to avoid the roadblocks and arrive in Nalgonda District.
I go off road and reach two tribal villages; they invite me to a welcome alcoholic drink made of fermented rice or coconuts I guess (I never drink) and then the kids take me for a 1 km walk for a swim.
At 6:30 pm I reach Mahbubnagar close to Karnataka.
I am completely exhausted. No clothes washing tonight. A big ice cream and I disappear in my bed. I close the light in the room and surprise, the ceiling is covered in fluorescent stars. That was just 100% cool!

Day 19 and 20: from Mahbubnagar to Hampi (Karnataka)
Easy ride. The back brake has become very noisy and braking feels a bit weird?
The hardest part of the day is to find a reasonable room in Hampi. I am offered a horrible room for 500 rps and some a bit better for 1500 rps (recommended by the Lonely Planet). It is full season and the locals charge as much as possible.
Finally just before I decide to go to Hospet for the night, I find a brand new room with fantastic bathroom for only 400 rps.
A big problem in Hampi is the enormous quantity of mosquitoes. I have dinner at 6:00 pm and I disappear into my cozy room.
On day 20, I go to Hospet and I have this beautiful experience: I spend the morning at the motorbike workshop to have the back brake fixed. The repairs are slow to start and even slower in their progress; it's India and I have learned to just be and let things happen at God's speed.
Around lunch time, I ask innerly "why am I in this waiting position"... and then I feel to go to have something to eat... I leave the workshop and after a minute or so walk, I see a little boy holding his bicycle on his left side and looking at the coming traffic towards the right side. On his left is a truck and suddenly the truck moves backwards; the boy has no awareness of what is happening, his focus is on the coming traffic.
I grab the boy at one arm and the bike with the other and pull him to my side on the sidewalk... all happens so fast that I realized later that it was not me doing it. It was like 2 or 3 times faster than normal speed but I can't really explain it!?
The truck driver didn't stop because it was behind his angle of vision and I guess that the boy would be squeezed under his bike and the double wheels of the truck.
A man gave the boy a big slap behind the head and another person congratulated me with "You are a good man"
Later I cried in gratitude as I realized how my question had been answered, "Why am I in this waiting position?"...
Om Sai Ram

Day 21: Hampi to Puttaparthi
About 250 km only. Most of the road from Bellary to Ananatapur is in a very bad condition. It is maybe wiser to go via Gooty on the highway, but again, if you like to see nice things they are not often on the highways...

That is it for now! My English is not that good so I hope you still enjoyed my little story
Last edited by omtapas; Jan 29th, 2010 at 17:37.. Reason: Text improvement
#12 Feb 10th, 2010, 12:25
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  • SubhadraHolland is offline
#12
I cried reading your story, I could imagine it so well. Thank you so much for sharing, and the pictures are beautifull too !
#13 Feb 10th, 2010, 17:17
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  • omtapas is offline
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Originally Posted by SubhadraHolland View Post I cried reading your story, I could imagine it so well. Thank you so much for sharing, and the pictures are beautiful too !
Thank you sweet heart!
#14 Feb 11th, 2010, 05:01
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  • trancemania is offline
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Hi,

Your observations were great and you really have wrote all these in detail.Really liked the photographs.

cheers,

Sam
#15 Feb 21st, 2010, 09:01
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